NHL Hart Trophy betting: Connor McDavid and then everyone else

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Since the 2016-17 NHL season, Connor McDavid has led the league in scoring three times. The other two seasons? He finished second. Every year during that span, he finished top-five in voting for the Hart Trophy, which is given to the league's MVP. He's won the award twice, the most recent of which was this past season. 

It should come as no surprise to see McDavid atop the leaderboard when it comes to odds to win the award in 2022. Currently, McDavid sits at +350 to win the MVP at BetMGM. 

How does McDavid not win the award?

Last season, McDavid dominated the sport of hockey to an extent that hasn't been seen in quite a while. McDavid posted 105 points in 56 games. The league's second leading scorer, McDavid's teammate Leon Draisaitl, posted 84 points. The leading non-Oilers scorer, Brad Marchand, had 69 points. 

McDavid outscored his closest competition by 21 points. If you take out his teammate, he outscored the league's second best scorer by 36 points. In a 56 game season, that's the equivalent of 0.65 points per game. When you look at the raw numbers, it's hard to envision someone other than McDavid winning this award. 

WINNIPEG, MB - MAY 23: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on during a first period stoppage in play against the Winnipeg Jets in Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell MTS Place on May 23, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)
Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers looks on during a stoppage in a game against the Winnipeg Jets. (Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

The biggest concern for McDavid has to be the team around him. It's been 33 years since the Hart Trophy was awarded to a player whose team didn't make the playoffs. While the Oilers have been a playoff-level team for the past two seasons, their quick exits once they got into the postseason highlights just how flawed this team is. Thankfully, the Pacific division is the weakest in the league and the Oilers at +400 are the second-favorite to win the division. Nevertheless, it's a concern. 

Another concern for McDavid is voter fatigue. We've seen it across other sports where it seems like voters are hesitant to keep awarding the same player the MVP, even if they are clearly the most valuable player in the league. LeBron James comes to mind. NHL voters might soon reach a point of "alright, we know McDavid dominates this sport, but who else can we vote for."

McDavid's top competition

Outside of Connor McDavid, who do oddsmakers give a real chance of winning the Hart Trophy?

Nathan MacKinnon: The Colorado Avalanche are favorites to win the Stanley Cup, so it's no surprise to see MacKinnon on this list. MacKinnon posted 65 points in 48 games during the regular season and then added 15 more points in 10 playoff games last season. Over the past four seasons, MacKinnon has finished second, sixth, second and third in Hart voting. Currently, the Avalanche star sits at +500 to win the award.  

Auston Matthews: Auston Matthews established himself as the league's best goal scorer last season when he potted 41 goals during the shortened season. Toronto has all the talent in the world even if they've underachieved the past few seasons. Matthews currently sits at +700 to win the Hart after finishing second in voting last season. 

Nikita Kucherov: Nikita Kucherov missed the entire regular season in 2021 but returned in time for the playoffs. During the postseason, Kucherov led the league in scoring with 32 points in 23 games. Kucherov won the Hart Trophy in 2019. Kucherov currently sits at +800 to win the award this year. 

Past winners

These current players have won the Hart Trophy previously in their career: 

Leon Draisaitl +1200 (12-to-1)

Patrick Kane +2000 (20-to-1)

Sidney Crosby +2500 (25-to-1)

Alexander Ovechkin +3500 (35-to-1)

Carey Price +4000 (40-to-1)

Evgeni Malkin +4000 (40-to-1)

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